One of my favorite types of restaurants that I've discovered in Hong Kong are the modern Chinese dim sum places. These places take traditional Chinese dishes and just add a fun twist to change up the flavor a bit.
Oftentimes truffles are involved (ha ha), or an occasional upscale twist. These restaurants also tend to elevate the artistry of their dishes, making cute animal-shaped dim sum items or carving up their vegetables into the shape of a dragon. My love of good Chinese food, slightly upscale ingredients, and cute things makes me the perfect target for this type of restaurant.
I had read a lot about Yum Cha.
Their "vomiting" custard buns are all over social media. Accordingly to reviews online, the food at Yum Cha is not only cute, but is also quite good (unlike places like the Hello Kitty Cafe, they said). The restaurant uses fresh ingredients and no MSG in its cooking, and explores a wide variety of Chinese cuisines (Cantonese, Sichuan, among others).
I still have yet to visit the Hello Kitty Cafe, but a good friend and I headed out to Mongkok one evening to try the modern dim sum at Yum Cha.
The menu at Yum Cha is reasonably big, though it all fits on a sheet of paper that you fill out with your order (like in a typical dim sum place). Unlike a traditional Chinese restaurant, however, this menu includes English and also photos of certain dishes.
Of course we had to try the signature "Molten" Hot Custard Buns ($49), which arrived in a steamer set of three peering out fearfully at us.
Ha ha, it's actually a bit tricky to get the mouth to look quite right, but we made a valiant effort. The buns are filled with a sweet salted duck egg custard.
For a unique twist on vegetables, we ordered the really beautifully presented Crab Roe Sesame Spinach ($59), which consisted of tight bundles of steamed spinach topped with crab roe and served with a sesame paste sauce. The spinach itself did not have much flavor but the sauce made up for it.
Though it looks a bit ordinary, the sizzling rice soup was delicious. I loved the flavor of the underlying broth, which was nicely infused into each sizzling rice kernel.
The Spicy Turnip Cake ($59) had bold, spicy flavors and came with deep fried lotus root chips, which was a fun touch.
Because I was here with only one other person, we weren't able to order as much. Nevertheless, I had enough of their food to have a good impression about the general style, quality, and prices of the dishes. The restaurant reminds me a lot of Social Place, another modern Chinese restaurant that I really like. I think it would be really fun to come back with a larger group of friends.
There are three locations: Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Mongkok. We showed up before 7PM and had no problem getting a table. I think sometimes during really popular times there might be a line. However, the restaurant is pretty big, so I would imagine the lines moves quickly.
Yum Cha Hong Kong
2/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
3/F, 20-22 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Shop 07, Level 4A, Langham Place, Mongkok, Kowloon